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Here are some simple everyday steps that could help you & your child:
Create a routine with your child:
Creating a routine with your child versus telling them their routine allows your child to take ownership or feel empowered that it is his/her routine. Creating a routine together allows you to discuss the ‘Why’ they need to do it and ‘How’ they can do it.
Give them Visual Reminders:
A chore list for younger children will help them visually tick off their tasks and complete them. A task list in order of priority pasted in a prominent place for the child reduces the thinking and choice making for the child. It is easier to work from and complete. Working with a task list when they are young enables older children to create their own lists as they grow older.
Help your child understand what a completed task looks like. For example: If the task is to put back their clothes neatly. Check if your child understands that and if they need to be taught how to fold clothes. If your child needs to practise a musical instrument, discuss with them what they need to do/accomplish in the 30 minutes of practise.
If your child isn’t being respectful or kind or responsible, discuss with them what that value looks like in your home. Does respect mean responding when someone talks to you? Does it mean cleaning up after yourself? Does it mean checking your tone when you speak?
Children struggle with transitions from one task to another. Give them space with reminders. For example if they are watching TV, setting a reminder 10 minutes before the actual transition time will help them get ready for the transition and make the mind switch. Schedule a task that they love working on after a task that they don’t enjoy.
Imagine if you have a bucket of water for all the household chores. The tasks you have at hand are washing utensils, washing clothes, mopping, washing the car and washing your backyard. Would a bucket of water suffice for all these activities? It wouldn't, right? Even if you tried to use one mug of water for each activity none of the tasks would get done well. So you would prioritise on the most important tasks. It is the same with skill building, focus on the most important skill that you want your child to focus on. Once that is accomplished, move to the next skill. This stacking of skills will help sustain routines and help with learning that lasts for a lifetime.
Be Flexible on Not so Great days:
Give space for days when your child is low on energy or is having a bad day with difficult emotions. Allow them to express themselves and share with you. Help them build coping skills that work for them.The focus can shift to calming and soothing themselves versus productivity. In the long run they will feel safe to reach out to you and seek help.
And most importantly being consistent with follow up and reminders helps build sustainable routines! Consistency is the key as it creates a safe space for children as well as they know what their day looks like and what they can expect.
Lastly, it is important to remind ourselves to be kind to ourselves and our children. For there are going to be days when we will slip, they are going to be not so great days when difficult emotions overwhelm us and they are going to be days when we lose our cool and don't feel proud of ourselves. It is OK. As long as we are aware, soothe ourselves and pick ourselves up; we are fine and our children will be fine too. For parenting is a marathon and we are in this together.
SpringUP is a parent buddy program. We work with children on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) through experiential programs. We facilitate skills and vocabulary for children that enables parents to seamlessly follow up at home.
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